Meaningful “State of Tribes Address” connects to health care issues

The Lower Brule Sioux tribal chairman, Boyd Gourneau, shared a relevant and, at times, emotional message during the third State of the Tribes Address on Thursday at the State Capitol in Pierre.

Gourneau urged South Dakota lawmakers to expand health coverage through the Medicaid program and to work with tribes to fight meth use. Gov. Dennis Daugaard supported Medicaid expansion efforts in the state during the 91st Session of the South Dakota Legislature, but dropped the initiative after the 2016 election.

The chairman noted that by working together on meth, health care and other issues the relationship between the state and the tribes could be strengthened leading to increased action and improvements.

He also highlighted Lower Brule’s successes in areas such as agriculture and other economic development activities. The tribe’s headquarters is in Lower Brule, and roughly 1,300 enrolled members live on the Lower Brule Reservation in central South Dakota.